|Inking up the block. First proof prints drying in print room|
It is always exciting seeing a block printed for the first time; I’m so relieved they print evenly. Looking at my first proof prints, I can see that it is good to have areas of precise, neat cutting contrasting with more sketchy, natural-looking areas. I have found it easier to carve a straight line than it is to carve an uneven one, and I constantly needed to remind myself to try and include areas of sketchiness and spend more time on these. With this in mind, I have decided to take on the challenge of doing a much larger carving, avoiding so many straight lines and going back to my very first experiments I did for the practice unit (below).
For this larger more experimental carving I wanted to recycle a piece of distressed wood from an old door or table. I had my eye on the door of our shed (below) because it was quite worn and needed replacing, but I found the wood to be too hard and I could not cut into it easily, however we had an old pine cupboard covered in cobwebs with rusty nails sticking out the sides. I like idea of using the side on an old cupboard to carve into; the wood has more character and feels more unique.
I saw Mokhlesur Rahman’s impressive prints on silk scarves at Venice Biennale in the summer holidays. These large uninhibited carvings are inspirational.
As I was concentrating on making the carvings so detailed, I realised that I possibly had not allowed for the background colour to show through as much as I would have liked. To resolve this I experimented with making the print fade down the middle by blending a darker shade at the edge with a lighter shade in the centre to try and break up the image and make it look less busy. I briefly experimented with technique this for the last project; I think it will be useful for adding depth to the prints and a way of varying the colour palette.